Throughout my career treating opiate dependency at the Waismann Institute, the patients I see do not usually fit society’s stereotypical drug addict. Most patients who seek treatment here develop their dependencies after taking painkillers that were prescribed to them for pain. They are mothers, teachers, lawyers, actors, and because they are often the last people you would expect to be dependent on drugs, they can be even more compelled to hide opiate adddiction. When they finally seek treatment, they require a quick and confidential approach so they can return to life without colleagues and family ever knowing.
Diane*, a 36-year-old mother of twins, was caring for her family and had returned to school to earn her teaching credentials. When the struggle for sleep caused her to suffer migraine headaches, her doctor prescribed Lortab, which prevented the discomfort of the migraines but presented a new problem, a drug dependency. Soon Diane developed a tolerance to the medication, which necessitated increases in her dose to achieve the same effect. Diane was soon taking 15-20 pills every day as her body became tolerant and required more of the drug, while making the dean’s list at school and caring for her husband and children. She was so successful that her dependency went unnoticed, common for the white-collar abuser, until her husband started questioning the pills in her pockets.
Diane knew she was physically dependent, and tried to wean herself off the drugs, but unbearable cravings and withdrawals left her dysfunctional. I used the The Waismann Method of Detoxification to treat Diane’s dependency, in which special medications facilitated the cleansing of opiates from her brains receptor sites while she was under anesthesia, allowing her to return home in three days. The Waismann Method allowed Diane to complete her degree without interruption.
Pain management patients often don’t need any level of social characterization or treatments that involve psychological reprogramming, making the Waismann Method the most appealing method of detoxification for them. Since dependency for these patients began because their bodies developed a chemical imbalance due to the drugs prescribed by a doctor, the reliance is purely a chemical issue and can be treated with medication like many other ailments.
A challenge often faced by a patient suffering from chronic pain is the withdrawal symptoms he or she will feel from discontinuing use of opiates. Typically, the patient will interpret this pain as a return of the chronic pain they felt previously, and apprehension will cease the detoxification process. Most times, after the patient’s body is free of opiates, they find that the pain is reduced and manageable without the levels of medication they were taking before. These are not people who indulged in opiates to numb grief from an emotional experience in their lives, or took a drug with the goal of achieving a high, they simply developed a physical dependency that they need to get rid of.
Bob* was prescribed a variety of opiate-based medications, including OxyContin, to treat painful vasculitis, which causes inflamed blood vessels. He became dependent on the medication and sought treatment at the Waismann Institute. After successful detoxification, Bob found that his pain remained the same as it was while he was on the opiates. Not wanting to become dependent again, Bob tried every pain management technique available, and found nothing to stop the pain. Out of sheer frustration, he finally went to a gym and enlisted a personal trainer to get him in shape. Today, Bob’s pain has disappeared and he regularly competes in power lifting competitions.
For most patients suffering from an opiate dependency, making the decision how to treat the disease is based on a number of factors. Unlike ailments such as cancer or heart disease, drug dependency often causes the sufferer shame and embarrassment, which can stop them from admitting the problem to family and professional colleagues, and create the inability to deal with the social stigma that surrounds an extended stay treatment facility. Whether the patient is a high profile celebrity, successful company executive or PTA member, the Waismann Method of rapid detox medically treats the chemical imbalance created by the opiate dependency. This method is ideal for people who need to return to normal life quickly and confidentially.
The Waismann Method, which has been featured in numerous media including, NBC News with Tom Brokaw, Los Angeles Times and USA Today, takes place in the intensive care unit of a hospital, while the patient is under anesthesia. Over the course of several hours, a cocktail of drugs circulates through the body, purging it of opiates and cleansing the opiate receptors found in the brain.
As addiction professionals, we are well aware of the often debilitating withdrawal symptoms often involved in opiate detoxification, which prevent recovery for many, especially for the functioning dependent. Using the Waismann Method, withdrawal occurs while the patient is asleep, thereby eliminating any sensation or memory of discomfort. As soon as the patient has awoken, he or she is no longer dependent on the narcotic, and needs only to recuperate for several days before going back to normal activity.
Any patient who has a dependency to opiates must first address the physical craving that was created in the brain after continuous use of the drugs, just like a sickness that has infected the body. The Waismann Method tackles that physical attachment, and after treatment, the patient is assigned to six follow-up sessions to determine a unique aftercare program, should one be required. For some patients, opiate dependency may have hidden underlying psychological issues, like problems with depression, anxiety or relationships issues. Other patients simply developed the physical dependence after routine prescribed opiate use, and do not require any additional treatment.
The Waismann Method of detoxification, with a success rate is over 65 percent after one year, has also worked for many patients who felt as though there were no other options. Dan* is 47, a married father of two, who is enjoying a semi-retired life managing real estate properties that he owns. Several years ago, Dan had a fall, and began using drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin and Lortab for the pain. He quickly became dependent and was spending $250 a day to support his habit. Finally, primarily out of fear and concern for his family, Dan decided to seek help, and went to a local methadone clinic for treatment. Dan said that over time his dose of methadone progressively escalated.
Dan said that in many ways his dependency on methadone was worse than that of OxyContin. In a drug induced fog, his life was consumed with making sure he had his supply. Wednesday mornings he drove to the clinic to receive his weekly dose, nothing coming in the way. Looking into the future, he really saw no end to this dependency. After undergoing the Waismann Method he was successfully detoxified from his methadone addiction, and for the first time in years he is completely dependency free.
I have treated many patients who developed a dependency to methadone after seeking treatment at a clinic for another opiate dependency. Chris*, 22, was a perfect example of an attempt at recovery that went wrong. Attending a methadone clinic to treat an Oxycontin dependency, Chris’ dose to the drug was continuously increased by clinicians. Chris concluded that the method would not break his reliance on drugs but simply substitute OxyContin with a different opiate. Chris was able to beat his methadone dependency at the Waismann Institute. New methadone clinics open frequently to service the growing number of opiate dependents in the United States, but many patients are not able to sever ties with the drug, sometimes taking it for life. For one who does not desire to switch one opiate dependency for another, and basically creating a legal dependency, the Waismann Method provides a fresh start.
The Waismann Method of Rapid Detox treats opiate dependency as a disease must include a medical reversal of the effects of opiates on the brain before any additional treatment is prescribed, releasing the shackles of dependency for every patient.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of these individuals suffering from opiate addiction